Friday, October 16, 2009

Things I love about Buenos Aires

I've been here for two weeks and I'm sure I'm leaving out a million other things I adore but, in no particular order, here are the ones I'm thinking about right now:
  • Hustle and bustle. Any time of day, any day of the week, any type of weather, the streets are packed with people. There is always something to do here and people are busy doing it.
  • Sparkling water. Six large, reusable, old-school seltzer bottles are delivered straight to my door once a week for about $3 (not the delivery fee - that's the total cost).
  • Delivery in general. You can get anything delivered here! Literally anything. It's amazing.
  • Yerba Mate. It's not the taste of yerba that I love (which, in an unexpected twist on typical Yanqui tastebuds, I do) as much as the culture and ceremony that surrounds it. Mate is meant to be shared. It is a community event in which a group of people share ONE mate (cup) and ONE bombilla (filtering straw), continually filling and passing, filling and passing, changing the yerba leaves once it is lavado (washed, aka weak) and filling and passing it around some more. It always feels like an honor to be included in such a uniting tradition.
  • Empanadas. If I don't eat one a day I feel as though something is wrong in life.
  • Beef. I don't like to eat beef in the U.S. for several reasons that I won't get into. Here, those reasons melt away like the juicy cuts of lomo in my mouth.
  • Leather. As a result of the large cattle industry, the leather goods here are out of this world. I'm all for using all parts of an animal so if I eat beef I might as well enjoy leather!
  • Wine. While I'm on the stereotypical Argentinean goods topic, it has to be said: the wine is fantastic. Malbec, te adoro.
  • Jasmine. It grows everywhere here.
  • Little Horse. The neighborhood where I live is called "Caballito" which translates to "Little Horse." To me it is a representative middle to upper-middle class neighborhood blessedly void of tourists. I feel safe here, and what's more, since it's so unlikely that I would be living in this neighborhood people don't even bother to notice me. I also just found out that the statue of El Cid one block from our apartment is the exact center of the city. Rad.
  • Mixed-use buildings. Almost every building's first floor is a retail store of some kind, which means that in any neighborhood you can walk to anything you could possibly need. Within 2 blocks of my apartment are at least 1 (and often 2 or more) of the following: bank; grocery store; restaurants and cafes; bakery; butcher; salon; laundry services (they do the wash for you!); bar; gym; pharmacy; gas station; car wash; clothing retail; shoe retail; cobbler; tailor; and most importantly, several empanaderias.
  • Argentineans. My thirst to meet and talk to as many varying representatives of this country as possible is seemingly unquenchable. I consider it a project in amateur anthropology. Maybe it's just because it's all foreign to me but, unlike in the U.S. where I might get bored if I feel like I already know how the conversation will end, I love finding out what people have to say here, and how they say it. Life in a second language can be frustrating but it's also totally fascinating.
  • Sol. My life here would be completely different were it not for my friend and roommate, "Sunshine" (and her family). A mi querida amiga: que harĂ­a sin vos??

2 comments:

AmberAnda said...

I was drinking a lot of mate today in this grey northwest weather and it made me think of you. Sounds like you are having no trouble finding things to love in BA!

Frederik said...

I love the Empanadas!!! And drink mate all day! I've spend a great time in Buenos Aires, I've rent an apartment in Recoleta, I suggest you the service I use called: ForRent Argentina: Buenos Aires apartments For Rent.
Cheers,
Fred.